Impressive Restoration of Industrial Weight Trucks
Two International industrial weight trucks restored to original glory
Lawrence with the model 61 with wrecker.
Photo by G. Wayne Walker Jr.
Tractors weren't the only workhorses manufactured for farm use in the early years of this century: Industrial weight trucks, for use on the farm and in industrial settings, also rumbled across the landscape. Two classic examples have been restored by Lawrence Herrs, Washington, Kan.
Lawrence's projects include two Internationals: a 3-ton model 63 flat bed, and a 2-ton model 61 wrecker. The 63 was produced from 1924-27 (his is a '25); the 61 from 1915-23 (his is a '21). Despite their age, and years of deterioration, the trucks were built to last, he said.
"They were made so heavy that they are just about indestructible," he said. "Most of them were sold to the logging and mining industry, and they're really heavy. The top speed on the 63 is 15 miles an hour, so they could gear down for heavy loads, and climp steep hills."
Lawrence grew up on International equipment.
"I was raised on a farm, and we always had Internationals," he said. "After I got back from the Army, I was a mechanic and shop foreman for an International dealer for 17 years."
Since 1978, he's been in business for himself at Herrs Machine, rebuilding hydrostat transmissions, large diesel engines and pumps, and turbochargers for all brands of farm equipment.
"The type of work we do, we're talking millionths of an inch tolerance," he said.
That emphasis on precision and perfection is apparent in the high quality of Lawrence's restoration projects. Extensive research, he said, also makes a difference.
"I do a lot of research before I start a project," he said. "I have a lot of old books and advertisements, and when I'm done with a project, I'm completely satisfied that it's as it should be."
Purchased from a Grand Island, Neb., farmer (who provided the original title), the model 63 was an uphill battle from the start.
"It was in pretty bad shape," Lawrence said. "But I had two of them, so I cut the frame off behind the cab. It had been cut and welded, but it was in pretty bad shape. I put a whole new rear section on."
A full three-quarters of the cab was oak, and it was completely rotted away.
"There was just enough there to get measurements," he said.
What remained of the truck was completely taken apart and restored. The transmission and rear end were reworked, and the engine (the same as that on a 10-20 farm tractor) needed a valve job.